If you’re looking for a Royal Caribbean deal, you’re in luck: This Miami-based line always has some sort of promotion going for a cruise somewhere in the world. With 25 ships in its fleet, including the world’s largest mega ships, Royal Caribbean has lots of capacity to fill. This can translate to a bargain fare if you you know how to find it. Here’s everything you need to know about hunting down the best Royal Caribbean cruise deals.
1. Three- to five-night cruises are the cheapest option.
Royal Caribbean promotes these “Quick Cruises” extensively. Search, and you can book a four-night Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral on Majesty of the Seas for as low as $277 per person for an inside cabin. Or splurge on a three-night Bahamas itinerary from Miami on Navigator of the Seas for $447 per person for a balcony cabin.
2. Some ports have better cruise deals.
If a cheap price — say, $500 per person or less for a five- to seven-night Caribbean cruise — is your ultimate goal, look for deals not only from Miami, but also from Baltimore, Charleston, Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, and Tampa. In fact, cruises to the Caribbean are among the line’s most consistent good values.
In Europe, Royal Caribbean’s best fares tend to be on seven-night Adriatic and Greek Isles itineraries from Venice or seven-night Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, with prices starting at slightly more than $600 per person.
3. Choosing the right ship matters.
The cheapest Royal Caribbean cruises are typically on its older ships: Sovereign-, Radiance-, Vision-, and Voyager-class vessels that were launched between 1990 and 2003. Smaller than the newer builds, these ships have nonetheless been refurbished to varying degrees over the past decade and offer great value to cruisers who couldn’t care less about skydiving simulators or robotic bartenders. For example, Empress of the Seas (which debuted in 1990) is the oldest ship in the fleet and is now sailing affordably priced four- and five-day Bahamas and Cozumel itineraries from Miami after a $50 million refit.
4. New ships aren’t exactly cheap, but you can still find deals.
Prices for cruises on the line’s hot Oasis- and Quantum-class mega ships rarely fall below $649 per person for an inside cabin. But sometimes, just sometimes, you can actually snag a balcony cabin for as little as $719 per person.
5. Look for promotions.
While the line does offer, say, 30 percent off for the third and fourth passengers (a great discount for a family of four), Royal Caribbean also launches “Kids Sail Free” promotions from time to time, sometimes simultaneously with other cruise deals. Always check when the deal ends — especially the line’s two-day-only “Going, Going, Gone” sales.
6. Earn Crown & Anchor discounts.
Become a member of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor loyalty program and, after just one cruise — even if it’s three nights — you’ll qualify to receive exclusive rates on certain sailings and priority notice on special offers and new ships.
7. Book Alaska in advance.
To score a cabin for less than $600 per person in Alaska, advance planning is required — usually 12 to 18 months out when Royal Caribbean has a cruise deal promotion going on. Last-minute deals to Alaska — such as an inside cabin for $699 to $961 per person promoted in June for July to September sailings — do show up on Royal Caribbean’s website, but last-minute airfares could negate the savings.
8. Take advantage of wave season.
Like most major cruise lines, Royal Caribbean offers cruise deals from January to March — an especially good time to book Europe and Alaska cruises for later that year, as well as last-minute winter cruises to the Caribbean.